Your brand is your business’ image, so it is vital that you defend it. As a component of your business’ immaterial assets, it adds value to your company. Aware of the challenges and rise of infringement and counterfeiting, especially since the development of the internet, our firm advises our clients on whether or not to register a particular sign and also fights to preserve them.
Article L. 711-1 of the Intellectual Property code defines a brand as “a sign capable of graphic representation that serves to distinguish the goods or services of an individual or legal entity.”
Brands thus prove to be major assets to a company in terms of competition and industrial and marketing strategies. This is why there is a pressing need to preserve it, because a lack of protections could allow a competitor to steal the brand and benefit from its profits.
When a company decides on its brand, it should verify it with a knowledgeable intellectual property lawyer, to ensure that it is not already registered by someone else.
Given the challenges that accompany launching and maintain a brand, it is necessary to have it analyzed before any submission is made.
The INPI does not conduct research concerning the existence of prior rights that may negate the registration of a brand—this is the responsibility of the applicant. Prior art research and analysis are extremely necessary, especially in terms of sustainable use. Furthermore, monitoring your brand can help you anticipate and avoid infringement proceedings if a similar mark is registered.
Your competitor might refuse to yield to your arguments and continue to appropriate your brand illegally. Intellectual property rights thus provide for the possibility of a case for infringement and criminal/civil action, which could then even possibly be coupled with a case for unfair competition. Infringement suits, at a time when technologies are facilitating counterfeiting at a breakneck speed, help crackdown on these activities.
However, owning a brand is not just about defending it. It is entirely possible to anticipate eventually selling the brand. In this case, it would be necessary to properly negotiate the terms for the transfer of right. Trademark transfers also occur during business transfers. If it is well made and well defended, it can be a real asset during negotiations.
Whether creating, defending, or transferring a brand, it is important to seek a trademark lawyer’s advice to guarantee the security of your future transactions.